Central Florida

The historic Donnelly House in Mount Dora.

Mount Dora: Eight big weekend festivals plus year-round charm

Mount Dora is a historic town that has figured out how to keep people returning year after year — with events like this: Jan 19-21 Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza and the Feb. 3-4 Annual Arts Festival

Trail along Tiger Creek Preserve

Exploring the Lake Wales Ridge: Central ‘highlands’ with old-fashioned flavor

Central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge is made for exploration. It offers rolling hills, forests, streams, quaint small towns with lots of places for hiking, kayaking and camping.

January 2018 manatee festivals: Orange City and Crystal River

January 2018 manatee festivals: Orange City and Crystal River

Two large manatee festivals celebrate Florida’s beloved manatee every January – one in Orange City and one in Crystal River. These two locations are probably the best places in the state to see manatees well and in great numbers. First up: Jan. 13 and 14 in Crystal River.

Weeki Wachee Springs: Kayaking, manatees and mermaids

Weeki Wachee Springs: Kayaking, manatees and mermaids

The Weeki Wachee is being overwhelmed with visitors. It’s partly because of a viral video of people on SUPs watching a herd of manatees float by. But it is also because of this: It is SO BEAUTIFUL, as I was reminded when I paddled it last week.

Brad Paisley

Headliners announced for the Florida Strawberry Festival in March

Florida Rambler’s guide to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Entertainment line-up, places to stay, places to eat, places to camp and things to do nearby. This year’s headliners include Brad Paisley, Reba MacEntire, Charley Pride, Jerry Lee Lewis, Josh Turner, Trace Adkins, Earth Wind and Fire, and many more.

Withlacoochee State Trail: Smooth and scenic

Withlacoochee Trail: This might be Florida’s best bike trail

This 46-mile paved Central Florida rail trail is a smooth, safe ride. But what makes it special is the scenery, parks & towns to explore along the way.

5 Things to Do in Ocala National Forest

5 Things to Do in Ocala National Forest

Encompassing more than 600 square miles in North Central Florida, Ocala National Forest is bursting with adventure. Hike the Florida Trail, camp in the deep woods, spend a lazy day at a cool, bubbling spring, ride the equestrian trails, paddle a spring run, a lake or a river.

Cocoa Beach

5 things to discover in Cocoa Beach

This year-round surfing mecca in Central Florida has much to offer beyond the resort cluster near the pier.

There is some shade on the Pinellas Trail, but not very much because of the trail's width.

Pinellas Trail: Treasured St. Pete bike trail is now 5 miles longer

The Pinellas Trail is a long, well-marked paved bicycle trail that connects St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs along Florida’s Gulf coast. It was just extended five miles north, and this is the most scenic section of all.

As the sun sets over Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, kayaks are lined up ready to launch for a bioluminescent kayak trip. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

A Florida summer thrill: Night-time kayaking in a bioluminescent glow

On dark summer nights in the Mosquito Lagoon near Titusville, the water glows from bioluminescent plankton. Kayak tours help visitors see the spectacular light show.